Mobile phone coverage is set to improve for people across Northern Ireland, as telecoms firms Orange, T-Mobile and Three UK have signed up to a €30 million upgrade deal.

Their 3G coverage will be expanded to cover an area encompassing 94 percent of the population of Northern Ireland by the end of this year, up from around 54 percent at present.

Enterprise minister Arlene Foster said the Stormont Executive is also committed to improving the 4G platform to support the latest mobile technologies.

She said: "My department has consulted extensively on telecoms investment priorities for 2011-2015 and has received endorsement for proposals to examine ways to deliver improvements in high-speed mobile delivery."

She welcomed the €30 million upgrade commitment, adding: "This is excellent news for Northern Ireland.

"My department has for a number of years recognised the importance of state-of-the-art telecommunications networks to the development of the economy."

Other mobile networks will not be affected by the move.

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